Indonesia: a coal giant exporting climate change
Twenty years ago, Indonesia was a marginal player in the world of coal. Between 2000 and 2009, an era of massive expansion of coal saw Indonesia develop the world’s fastest growing coal sector, with coal production increasing by 460% since 2000. Today Indonesia is the world’s largest thermal coal exporter and the second largest coal exporter overall.
In just two decades, Indonesia’s rampant deforestation and coal mining boom has driven the nation to become the world’s third largest climate polluter, behind China and the US. Indonesia’s coal production and exports grew on average 6% per year from 2005 to 2013, posting the second largest absolute increase in production, after China, and overtaking India in terms of total coal output in 2012. In only 8 years, Indonesia’s coal production growth added 630 million tonnes to global annual CO2 emissions, more than the entire annual emissions of Canada. In total, coal production growth in China and Indonesia accounts for the entire net increase in global fossil CO2 emissions over this period. The projected future increase of 460 million tonnes of carbon emissions from coal mining expansion completely undermines Indonesia’s 2009 voluntary commitment to reduce national emissions by up to 41% by 2020. Achieving a decrease in Indonesia’s coal exports would eliminate the second largest source of fossil CO2 growth in the world, making a major contribution to peaking global emissions.